Comparison of a gross anatomy laboratory to online anatomy software for teaching anatomy

Virgil Mathiowetz, Chih Huang Yu, Cindee Quake-Rapp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


This study was designed to assess the grades, self-perceived learning, and satisfaction between occupational therapy students who used a gross anatomy laboratory versus online anatomy software (AnatomyTV) as tools to learn anatomy at a large public university and a satellite campus in the mid-western United States. The goal was to determine if equivalent learning outcomes could be achieved regardless of learning tool used. In addition, it was important to determine why students chose the gross anatomy laboratory over online AnatomyTV. A two group, post-test only design was used with data gathered at the end of the course. Primary outcomes were students' grades, self-perceived learning, and satisfaction. In addition, a survey was used to collect descriptive data. One cadaver prosection was available for every four students in the gross anatomy laboratory. AnatomyTV was available online through the university library. At the conclusion of the course, the gross anatomy laboratory group had significantly higher grade percentage, self-perceived learning, and satisfaction than the AnatomyTV group. However, the practical significance of the difference is debatable. The significantly greater time spent in gross anatomy laboratory during the laboratory portion of the course may have affected the study outcomes. In addition, some students may find the difference in (B+) versus (A-) grade as not practically significant. Further research needs to be conducted to identify what specific anatomy teaching resources are most effective beyond prosection for students without access to a gross anatomy laboratory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)52-59
Number of pages8
JournalAnatomical sciences education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • Allied health education
  • Computer assisted-learning
  • Graduate education
  • Gross anatomy education
  • Gross anatomy laboratory
  • Learning outcomes
  • Occupational therapy
  • Online anatomy learning
  • Prosection
  • Student perception
  • Student satisfaction

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